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Meet the Simmons-Ray Family from Pennsylvania!

1/9/20

The Simmons-Ray Family, Pennsylvania   

We love him with our entire hearts.

Jaime Simmons and Mary Ray cite their family’s greatest strengths as resilience and a sense of humor. They write, “We can laugh at just about anything.” Those qualities have helped them to persevere in their journey to parenthood through foster care adoption. 

The two mothers proudly introduce their son Daniel, a delightful 2 ½-year-old full of love and joy. Daniel entered foster care as a young infant. His adoption was completed this past June. Like most toddlers, Daniel likes dance, story time, and painting. Jaime writes, “He is creative, precocious, and happy.” Mary adds, “We love him with our entire hearts.”

The Simmons-Rays explain their decision to adopt. “We were motivated by our desire to have a child and started to investigate the options. As a lesbian couple, we didn't want to invest dollars in assisted reproductive care when there are so many children that need a home.” The couple started fostering when they lived in Massachusetts, and continued to do so when they relocated to Pennsylvania. 

Parent groups and private therapists have encouraged and supported Jaime and Mary throughout their foster care and adoption experiences. These resources have guided them in their communications with birth parents, and helped them to grieve when children they had cared for long-term were reunited with their birth family. Mary reflects, “We have participated in support groups and personal therapy in order to be the best foster parents (and now the best parents) we can be.”

Asked what obstacles they have overcome through the adoption process, the couple writes, “The bureaucracy and the uncertainty of the whole process.” They also report having experienced discrimination while searching for an agency and when inquiring about children needing homes. “It is very apparent that many child welfare professionals are in desperate need for diversity training beyond race - neurodiversity, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, socioeconomics.”

Based upon their experience, Jaime and Mary ask policy makers for protections against discrimination that denies children loving, permanent homes. Specifically, they urge members of Congress to pass the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, which has been introduced six times.   

Jaime and Mary seize upon every chance they get to promote adoption. Through her employment at a foster care agency, Jaime talks to people every day about adoption and helps others start their journeys.

Mary also tells others who show interest, “Adoption and foster care are really hard work, but worth every moment, every tear, and every hard day.”

 

PENNSYLVANIA - There are 3,763 children waiting to be adopted. There were 2,238 children adopted in the last year (AFCARS).